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Astigmatism: A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Your Eyes

Updated on: 19 April,2024 05:50 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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Astigmatism is a refractive error, where the shape of your eye – specifically the cornea or lens – becomes more curved than usual.

Astigmatism: A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Your Eyes

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that blurs one's eyesight. It is needless to say that a person’s daily life becomes a struggle with this condition.

So, if you or a loved one have this condition, it’s high time you understand what it is, its symptoms, possible causes, and the best treatment options.

So, let’s dive in

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error, where the shape of your eye – specifically the cornea or lens – becomes more curved than usual. The normal eye shape is round, like a baseball.

Thus, the entered light gets bent unevenly, which causes blurry and distorted vision at all distances.

There are different kinds of astigmatism, as follows:

1. Regular Astigmatism

It’s the most common type in young individuals and is corrected using eyeglasses, contact lenses, and corrective surgeries. In this, the two principal meridians – imaginary perpendicular lines in the eye – are 90 degrees apart. One is way steeper than the other.

2. Irregular Astigmatism

In this, the two principal meridians are not in symmetry at all. This makes the curvature uneven. It is more difficult to correct than regular astigmatism.

There are also conditions where astigmatism is combined with:

  • Simple myopia
  • Compound myopia
  • Simple hyperopia
  • Compound hyperopia
  • Both myopia and hyperopia

What are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?

To know whether you have astigmatism, it’s best to schedule yourself for an eye examination at a reputed eye hospital.

However, you can also notice it through the following symptoms:

  • Blurry, distorted vision
  • Frequently squinting eyes for better eyesight
  • Poor vision at night
  • Seeing halos or glare around lights
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

If you have mild astigmatism, these symptoms may not be obvious. Only regular eye check-ups can help you detect this condition.

What are the Causes of Astigmatism?

The exact cause of astigmatism is still unknown. Some say that it’s a result of:

  • An eye injury
  • A faulty eye surgery or a post-eye surgery complication
  • Keratoconus (another eye condition)
  • Eyelids putting excess pressure on the eyes
  • A hereditary condition passed from biological parents

What is the Treatment for Astigmatism?

Astigmatism can be treated in the following ways:

1. Eyeglasses

This is the most common way to correct astigmatism. Usually, you’ll be prescribed a cylindrical lens that fixes the uneven curves of your eye cornea or lens. People with severe cases of astigmatism are better off with glasses than contact lenses.

2. Contact Lens

If the astigmatism isn’t that severe, you can also opt for contact lenses. There are different options for this:

  • Soft contact lens
    Soft contacts used to correct astigmatism are called toric lenses. They are weighted so that they are aligned perfectly. They come with different powers in different meridians to correct the vision.
  • Gas permeable, RGP, or GP contact lens
    This is a more rigid lens that strictly maintains its shape even after being worn. It offers a sharper vision. However, not everyone will feel comfortable with the fit and sensation.
  • Hybrid contact lens
    This type has a rigid gas permeable lens material in the center of the lens, which is covered in a soft material.

3. Corrective Surgery

Several corrective/refractive surgeries also help this eye condition. Let’s know the best of them.

  • LASIK (Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis)

LASIK is one of the most renowned blade-free eye corrective surgeries of all time. In this, a thin flap is created on your cornea using a femtosecond laser.

After lifting this flap, the corneal tissue is reshaped with a programmed laser according to your refractive error. Then, the flap is placed back in its position to heal without stitches.

The overall surgery takes about 30 minutes for both eyes. It helps you regain 20:20 vision within a few days. You can even resume driving after 24 hours. However, complete healing takes about 2-3 months.

  • PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

PRK was the first and original laser eye surgery which was later replaced by LASIK. It’s especially an alternative to LASIK if you have thinner corneas, suffer from dry eyes, or play sports with direct contact with your eyes.

The process includes a surgeon removing epithelial cells from the surface layer of your cornea. Then, a cool excimer laser reshapes the cornea as required for correction.

Post-surgery, a “bandage” contact lens is placed over your eyes. This is removed after 5-7 days to help your eyes heal.

Surgery procedure takes about 15 minutes for both eyes, but total healing may take 2-4 weeks at least and 3-6 months at most.

You can resume strenuous activities after a week. The light sensitivity ends after around 10 days. Any water-related activities like taking hot baths, swimming in pools or natural bodies can be resumed after 2 weeks.

  • SILK (Smooth Incision Lenticule Keratomileusis)

This newest laser surgery option treats astigmatism up to 6D and is already doing great wonders for people. The minimally invasive surgery needs advanced imaging technology, which results in great precision and accuracy.

In this, a surgeon creates a small and thin lens-shaped disc aka lenticule with a laser and removes it through a corneal incision. The cornea is then reshaped and flattened to correct vision.

The flapless surgery offers quick recovery, utmost comfort, supervision of 6/5 (which is better than regular vision), and lower complication risks.

Overall, SILK surgery takes about 15 minutes for both eyes. The recovery is superfast – you can resume daily activities after 24 hours and use digital devices (smartphones, laptops, etc.) after 2 days.


Astigmatism is an annoying vision condition, but it’s not impossible to correct. There are a wide range of solutions for it. So, contact a reputed ophthalmologist and identify a solution right away!

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